Google’s app marketplace takes a shot across Apple’s bow, Tim Cook talks turkey—and iPhones—with China’s largest carrier, and a little dose of nostalgia for Siskel and Ebert fans. The remainders for Wednesday, July 31, 2013 will see you at the movies.
For the first time, downloads of apps from the Google Play store have exceeded those from the App Store. That’s thanks in large part to Google’s expansion into new countries like India and Brazil. However, the App Store still handily beats Google Play in terms of the amount of revenue brought in for apps. And let’s not even compare number-of-smurfberries-accidentally-bought-by-kids-with-their-parents’-passwords.
You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.
A developer has shared information about a new iPad Mini with 9to5mac.com and among other things it appears that it will continue to lack a retina display. This information comes from a compatibility list of devices with iOS 7 hidden in the iOS 7 SDK.
While it is not guaranteed that the devices listed in the report will ever ship, it seems likely that the new Minis will have similar specs. The lack of the display isn’t a total loss since the faster processor is still a jump forward in power and system capabilities.
This information doesn’t necessarily contradict recent rumors for a retina mini in 2014 since there is plenty of time to release both. The device specs which have been reported include the following information:
s518950x processor – this is identical to the A6 on the iPhone 5
3 different models – ‘2,8’, ‘2,9’, and ‘2,10’ which include one WiFi and two cellular models
Identical cellular and baseband tech as the previous mini models
The retina rumor has been around since before the mini was released and persists because it is one of the few remaining devices which does not have a retina display. Certainly there is some engineering and design required to incorporate a retina display in the mini at a price point that remains the same, but Apple is surely up to the task.
The biggest question is whether or not the mini really needs a retina display and the obvious answer is “Of course!” The addition of the retina display to the full size iPad made a huge difference and also with the iPhone. All we learn from the 9to5mac.com report is that a faster mini is being tested but it is yet to be seen which model will be manufactured and released to the public.
Today, UPS announced its plan to bring 3D printing services to the masses. The shipping company will soon roll out Stratasys Uprint SE Plus printers to 60 locations in San Diego to test out the new service; it’ll be aimed at small businesses, start-ups and retail customers in need of a professional grade model to produce things like prototypes and artistic renderings. At $20,900 a pop, Stratasys printers aren’t exactly the kind of gadget you’d purchase for home use, so their availability at UPS stores is a pretty major step towards making high quality 3D printing an accessible option for the common man. Though the company is starting small, it hopes to expand the service nationwide, provided that the San Diego experiment proves successful. For more info, check out the video after the break.
Some of the following, for legal reasons, may or may not be fictional.
My first modem was a 300-baud Apple-Cat II. It was an expansion card for the Apple II and simply plugged into a phone line. It was, simply put, a bad-ass piece of technology that turned me into a total digital delinquent. While my parents thought I was innocently learning to code BBSes (bulletin board systems) I was actually learning how to get things for free and paving the way for software pirates, phone phreaks and straight-up frauds of the future.
The Apple-Cat II could connect to other Apple-Cat IIs at 1200 baud, which made file transfers pretty quick for the time. This meant we could trade entire games in about an hour. We’d log into bulletin board systems, share lists of things we had and set up times to dial one another to trade games. Usually a barter would take place — your Aztec for my Hard Hat Mack. It was a lot like trading baseball cards, I imagine.
Bret Taylor and Kevin Gibbs have announced the release of Quip, a modern word processor with a lot of mobile and social offerings. These guys have spent years in the trenches at Google and FaceBook and this release is a curiosity to see if Quip can succeed in a ‘Microsoft Office’ world.
At first glance Quip looks like a very capable mobile word processor and in fact some of the features certainly promise to be very useful but it represents a transition to a mobile paradigm that many companies aren’t ready for. This would be fine except that it appears the earning model for Quip is aimed at businesses and not with the free version anybody can download.
After spending some time with Quip (it is immediately available), I found it very easy to start writing and sharing. However, the tasks I typically use a word processor for are far from possible on this app. If I want to make a poster to hang on my office door or a signup sheet with a specific layout then I can’t see how to do it. Also, it appears that sharing with someone who works in Word is not an option. It seems you can only share with other authors and I could only find an option to export to .PDF when using the desktop web browser interface and not on my iOS device. If it is there then it is hidden and undermines the effort to make a simple to use modern app.
In either case, this release marks the continued effort to transition ‘old’ ways of working into the modern world of mobile devices which seemingly requires a large amount of effort to turn traditional workflows and tasks into simple and elegant apps. What Quip is good at is making collaboration easy and I am going to try it out on a new project I am working on to see if it can best my current favorite Pages. I wrote at least half of my most recent book in Pages on my iPhone and iPad while commuting on busses and in meetings. iCloud let me continuously work on each platform seamlessly, but I was working alone on chapters. Let’s see how Quip works with multiple authors.
Here is a list from the Quip site detailing important features:
Remember that luggage tracking device we did a hands-on with back at CES? Well, now you can finally get your own hands around it. Trakdot Luggage has just started shipping. The little box auto-transmits its location via quad-band GSM chip and triangulation, letting you know where your toiletries are at all times (except when you’re actually in the air, naturally). Trakdot will run you $50, a price that includes a luggage tag and batteries (which should give you around two weeks of use). You’ll also need to drop $9 for the activation and $13 for the annual service fee, if you want more than just a suitcase paperweight. And as for actually tracking the package, you’ll have to rely on your parcel carrier for that information.
Windows Phone users who want to use Google Sync for contact and calendar integration had better act quickly: today is the last day that they can link their handsets to the service before Google pulls the plug. From August 1st onwards, Google Sync will only work on a given Windows Phone if it’s already configured. The GDR 2 upgrade keeps syncing alive through CalDAV and CardDAV support, although many users could go without that support for some time — to date, Americans can only see the OS refresh on the HTC 8XT, Lumia 520, Lumia 925 and Lumia 1020. If you’re not in that group and miss the Google Sync deadline, you’ll just have to sit tight while Microsoft finishes rolling out the GDR 2 update this summer.